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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The chairman of the aldermanic parks committee in St. Louis says the Zoo-Museum District board needs to "reinvent itself" and become a watchdog organization for taxpayers.
The district oversees the St. Louis region's five taxpayer-funded cultural institutions. Alderman Joe Roddy told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the institutions should be judged on their performance and earn their collective $70 million annually, rather than get the money automatically.
Roddy on Monday released a report concluding that both the Missouri History Museum and the Missouri Botanical Garden should overhaul their governance.
Roddy's investigation was fueled by questions about executive pay at the five museums - the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Zoo and the History Museum.
 
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 10:32
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CHICAGO (AP) - Hollywood is spending big money in Illinois.
The state said Tuesday that the film industry generated $358 million in spending in the state during 2013. Officials say that easily surpasses the previous record of $184 million in 2012.
Chicago officials say filming last year included six TV series, three studio feature films and 137 commercials. Some of those projects include TV series like "Chicago Fire" and movies like the upcoming "Divergent" and "Transformers 4."
Gov. Pat Quinn's office says "Chicago fire" spent $58 million in 2013. "Chicago PD" has spent $21 million in Illinois.
The Chicago Film Office and Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events cite a 20 percent increase in overall production compared with 2012. The city says 2012's numbers were 40 percent higher than 2011.
 
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 10:26
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A report being released today says Illinois' plan to save 160-billion dollars ultimately won't make much of a dent in the state's growing deficits.  The University of Illinois' Institute for Government and Public Affairs study says changes to the state's major public pension systems will eliminate their unfunded liability over the next 25 years, but the state's deficit will increase to $13 billion during that time.  Institute researchers projected a $14 billion deficit - a $1 billion difference - if the state had not implemented pension reform.  Institute Director Chris Mooney says the study was released as campaigns for the 2014 general election begin to heat up in order to make sure the state's fiscal crisis is addressed.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 10:21
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HAZELWOOD, Mo. (AP) - A St. Louis area school district has launched a food pantry program to help ensure needy students don't go without nourishment outside the school day.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Hazelwood School District's "Food For Thought" program is the second in the area. The Jennings district opened one for its students in the fall of 2012.
Hazelwood's pantries will be housed at the district's three high schools. But they'll be available to all students who lack a reliable source of food for evenings, weekends and other breaks from school.
 About 57 percent of Hazelwood students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, compared to nearly 50 percent statewide.  
 
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 10:14
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